Libraries Hold Their Breath and Await the Budget

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. Today we’ll find out why five newly renovated branch libraries in New York City have yet to reopen. We’ll also hear what Mayor Eric Adams said in defending a nominee who worked for Rudolph Giuliani when he was mayor.

And, repeating what I explained here yesterday, New York Today is focusing on what’s going on in New York this week — aside from the trial of former President Donald Trump. We’ll summarize those developments in our Latest New York News section, and you can also sign up to receive our Trump on Trial newsletter.

Credit…Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Anthony Marx dreams of going to the Bronx to reopen the Hunts Point Library on Southern Boulevard.

The 95-year-old library building, the last of 39 built with money from the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, has been renovated as part of a $160 million project to freshen five branch libraries around the city.

But Marx, the president of the New York Public Library, has yet to schedule a ribbon-cutting ceremony at any of the five. The reason: Mayor Eric Adams’s preliminary budget called for cutting $25.5 million for the New York Public Library and its 92-branch system — including salary money for the librarians and other staff members who would operate the five branches.

“It would be tragic not to open them,” Marx said. “They’re spectacular, they’re in neighborhoods that are desperate for them to come back, and we are desperate to do it.” But the libraries needs some degree of certainty that City Hall would not slash library funding again, once they are reopened, he said. The mayor’s preliminary budget also called for cutting $32.8 million from the city’s two other library systems, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Public Library.

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